By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The governorship candidate of Accord Party in the forthcoming election in Osun State, Mr Akin Ogunbiyi, has promised to replicate the success he achieved at Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc in the state if elected governor this year.
Residents of the 30-year-old state head to the polls on July 16, 2022, and Mr Ogunbiyi, who is the founder and group chairman of Mutual Benefits, believes he has what it takes to provide a sustainable economy for the state.
In a chat with newsmen in Osogbo, the entrepreneur said Osun State should not have any reason to be in the same sentence with underdevelopment based on the huge human and material resources it is blessed with.
According to him, the state has arable farmland covering over 9000 kilometres, mineral deposits, tourist sites, and aquatic habitat, among others, but despite these, it “remains in the backwater of underdevelopment.”
He pointed out that the resources have been badly managed to the extent that it ranks third in the list of most indebted states in Nigeria, with over N200 billion debt overhang; while it receives a lean N1.7 billion monthly allocation from the federation account (due to deductions) and generates a lowly N13 billion monthly revenue.
The graduate of Agricultural Economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, said with very few viable capital projects, which come in form of future investments, Osun State battles low productivity, unemployment and poverty.
But he assured that if elected next month, he will transform the state into an enviable one as he will reengineer the economy to become more viable and buoyant, a far cry from its present comatose state.
The self-acclaimed “venturer” stressed that he will look “for opportunities to create and deliver value” as he will “approach leadership from an entrepreneurial and revenue-generating mindset and not just sit down and depend solely on monthly federal allocation.”
“We must strive to end Osun State economy rallying around three services: civil servants, teachers and peasant farmers,” he said pledging to work in tandem with his Accord Party’s philosophy and manifesto, which is anchored on “corporatism, popularism and capitalism.”
“If elected governor, l will first and foremost, work to guarantee the security of lives and property in the state. Since security is the main purpose of government, we will rejig the security architecture in the state to ensure better results.
“We will invest in these two sectors to ensure sound minds, healthy and wealthy citizenry.
“We will also create jobs for our teeming but now largely idle youths. We will also do this by creating an enabling environment to will Osun State an investment-friendly state.
“If elected governor, l will also initiate and sustain an agricultural revolution in the state, by utilising our vast arable land, not only to attain food security but to generate huge revenue from the sector.
“We will make soft loans available for small-scale farmers to produce food and crop crops and by so doing, provide jobs for many Osun youths,” Mr Ogunbiyi promised.
Speaking further, he vowed to pursue massive infrastructural development in the rural areas and concentrate his envisioned agricultural revolution among the rural populace.
“We will unleash our energies and resources to boost industrialisation in the state by maximizing the benefits of our vast mineral resources-gold, kaoline, iron ore, Talc, columbite, etc. located in different parts of the state.
“We will intensify the mining of these deposits at a commercial level that will be beneficial to the state. We won’t play politics with such revenue-yielding ventures or enter into deals that will short-change the state.
“We will also assist artisans, women groups and youths through skill acquisition and soft loans to enable be self-sustaining and become employers of labour,” he said.